An image showing an unconscious parent overdosing in a car with her small child is raising fears of a new trend for drug addicts.

Police in Hope, Indiana, found 25-year-old Erika Hurt passed out with her baby in the back seat of the car last Saturday.

They released an image showing the woman unresponsive behind the wheel, head tilted back, a syringe in her hand.

Her 10-month-old son was crying in the back of the vehicle, said Hope Marshal Matthew Tallent.

“Parents are doing this more often with children in the car because they are doing it away from someone who is going to disapprove,” he told the Indianapolis Star.

“This is becoming a new norm for drug users.”

Mr Tallent said he released the photo in hopes of raising awareness about the heroin epidemic.

“My intention with these photos is not to shame the mother, although I realise it may appear embarrassing,” he told Fox59 in Indianapolis.

“I honestly think this picture should be used as an educational tool because I want people to see what this drug is doing.”

Hurt’s mother, Jami Smith, said releasing the photo was a mistake, and insisted her daughter was aware of what she had done.

“I don’t know why or what in her mind made her think that would be an okay decision because it was not okay,” she said.

“Nobody is more angry, devastated, hurt, humiliating, or hating herself than her.”

In another photo released last month by Ohio police, a man and a woman are seen passed out in a car with the woman’s four-year-old grandson in the back.

“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis,” police in East Liverpool said at the time.

Hurt was taken to hospital, where she was arrested on charges of child neglect and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Child welfare officials were called to the scene.

(c) Sky News 2016: Overdosing mum found unconscious with baby in car ‘the new norm’

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